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Opportunity Cost and the Price of Normalcy

A college friend of mine challenged me to consider integrating my past scholarly pursuits in philosophy and business ethics with my current experience dealing with a long-term illness, and guest lecturing in disability studies. So on that note, this blog post represents the first of many musings outlining the field of economic morality within a life-altering, adjusted lens.

Let us first consider some key terms, definitions, and operational lingo, which will facilitate our conversation in this discipline. The economist, Paul Krugman, asserts that business ethics is NOT primarily a study of money, but of human persons. In the disability community, it is oft mentioned that “It takes a lot of energy to be normal!”

Before digressing on a gratuitous excursion toward defining normal, and whether a handicapped person qualifies, the Opportunity Cost of a given state of affairs are the benefits lost in pursuing mutually exclusive courses of action. For instance, the opportunity cost of my suffering a stroke in October 2012 are all the benefits lost (financial, and/or otherwise in not having the hemorrhagic bleed; likewise, one could also estimate the opportunity cost of NOT having a stroke. These benefits include lessons learned, friendships gained, and the traumatic brain injury’s literal/figurative heartache.

Kudos to Mark Heinzig for the gentle push …

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Saquon Barkley and the Pragmatic ‘Ought’

To Declare or Not to Declare

In college football circles the last few weeks, the primary question surrounding Saquon Barkley’s future had been whether the 21-year-old ought to forgo his senior season at Penn State, and go pro.  With all the hype, you would think that his decision would encompass one of moral/ethical scope. It certainly takes on that tone, when pundits assert that he OUGHT or ought NOT head to the professional ranks.

But it is a mistake to view this athletic ‘ought’ as an ethical or moral act. Rather, the decision, while difficult, is  strictly pragmatic. Barkley has to decide whether to experience and enjoy the Fiesta Bowl with his teammates, while risking injury along with the concomitant reward of millions of dollars due him for five years of work in the NFL (the average running back does not last past his 29th birthday). It represents a pure risk/reward proposition rather than a moral decision.  However private the choice is for Barkley, he does also need to balance  this personal decision with the fact that he is a public figure, and has a duty/obligation to family, teammates, and the Penn State community who has supported him.  As Saquon reiterates, “This decision is not easy nor straightforward.”

 

 

 

 

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Illegal, Immoral, or Inappropriate Questions?

Eli Apple, highly touted Defensive Back of the Ohio State Buckeyes, and top NFL draft prospect was allegedly asked in an interview about his sexual preferences / orientation — a clear legal violation and inappropriate question in the interview hiring process. While both illegal and inappropriate, the question over Apple’s sthexual orientation is not immoral; i.e., it is NOT a query violating moral  conscience nor a matter of ethical debate.  It is important to understand this distinction:  The act is against the law AND a hiring policy violation; but it is not an instance of transgressing a company’s ethical boundaries, despite one’s personal preferences on the matter.

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Summer Plans

The Monday Morning Business Ethicist has been and will continue  to take a break from the Blog this summer as he rehabilitates from his hemorrhagic stroke in October ’12 and prepares to teach an online business ethics course at St. Ambrose University in Fall 2015.

Will be back to the Blog in short time!

AJC

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The “Origins” of Free Enterprise

Bill Nye, “The Science Guy”

 

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